Monday, April 15, 2013

Climbing the Walls, Running the Roads, and my thoughts on the Boston marathon bombing

Now that M is back home for good (which has a much different feel than when he was back for visits: we put the luggage away!), things are a little different.  The cats are still hanging out with me more, even though Origami Cat is warming up to M.  (He was very excited when M came home, but then he's gotten stand-offish.)  I have switched sides in the bed again (like I do from time to time) and I have stopped wearing socks to bed.  I'm sure M appreciates my feet-sicles.

Yesterday, he joined me and a few people from work to take the youth rock climbing at the climbing gym.  He's a very experienced climber.  I was surprised that our younger boys didn't really come out for this one- it attracted mostly the older girls and their friends.  I was really impressed by them- our older teen girls are some amazing athletes.  They are rowers and skiers and runners and flag-team members and a chicken keeper, and they are strong climbers!  They are mostly better than me (probably because they have more upper body strength and because they didn't just spend two weeks traveling and eating mostly carbs).

I was really glad to get some climbing in.  I mostly belayed.  I got to tackle this one angled-out wall that I hadn't been brave enough to go up before.  It was a tough climb and I didn't quite hit the very top, but it was my version of bad-ass.  When I got down, I had scraped my knuckles so I had literal bloody knuckles.  Rawr!

Then we all ended up in the bouldering cave turning backflips on the handholds.  Even I turned a backflip!  I thought for a second I was going to lose my grip and fall on my head, but I pulled it through!  My shoulders are definitely tense, though.

Today, it was sunny and cool in the afternoon so I cajoled M into a nice little road run.  At this point, I am significantly faster than him, so for a while I ran ahead of him.  And then I slowed down and we ran/walked/walked/ran the rest of the way.  Because we spent so much time apart that sometimes it is just nice to hang out with your training buddy, even if you are at different levels.

In the aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombing, I am appreciating having my running buddy/life partner near me all that much more.  While we were apart, we endured a hurricane which flooded and damaged many parts of DC and made cell phone coverage go out.  I hated that feeling of knowing that he could get hurt and I could have no way to get to him.  When things are bad out, it feels that much more comfortable to have loved ones close by.

As far as what I think of the bombing: This was a terrorist act, regardless of who built and detonated those bombs.  It breaks my heart for the runners whose race was ruined. There's nothing like the thrill of finishing a big endurance event, and to have your finish ruined in this way is just unspeakable.  What's more, and what's worse, is that this terrorist act was designed to impact the largest number of runners and spectators.  Timed at about 4 hours into the race, that is when the largest numbers of finishers are coming in.  Many will be in the finish line area recovering after finishing, many more will be approaching the line, and many spectators will be cheering them on and helping them and waiting for their own runner to finish.  It's the time when the most number of innocent people are intently focused on each other.  Four hours in to the race is the Everyman's moment, when normal everyday people finish their race.  They are caught up in the thrill of success, and it seems at finish lines that we all get carried away in this wave of support and positivity.  That to me is the worst part- that such a terrible act occurs during one of the times when human beings are most intently focused on supporting each other in a positive way.

One of my facebook friends is preparing for a marathon herself, and has already stated that she intends to run.  She said "Fuck you! I will run!"  which I said should be a new T-shirt!  It summed up what i was thinking, for sure.

I lose my patience with terrorists.  What am I supposed to do?  Stop running because they want me to fear the finish line?  Stop watching and volunteering for races because they want me to fear the trash bins?  Stop cheering for strangers and getting caught up in the endorphins because they want me to fear?  No way.

There's a line from Christian scripture, about "perfect love casts out fear".  Yes, I understand the scripture is talking about God's love for us, but I've always found the finish line of events from 5Ks to a long triathlon to be the place where I experience humanity's best positivity and love for each other.

I've seen the videos and photos, and what I see is runners falling to the ground as the bombs detonate, and then I see scores of police and first responders and volunteers running into harm's way to help those who were injured.  I see people grabbing each other and shielding each other and helping each other after the blast.  I see people using whatever they can get their hands on to lend aid, and I see people staying with the injured so that no one is left alone and afraid.

I will never fear the finish line.

The terrorists failed, again.

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